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New career path

New career path

Studies show that although the material success of US workers has grown significantly, over the last 50 years, the level of personal satisfaction with work has slowly declined.
The modern employee is searching for work that will help him or her narrow the satisfaction gap. Dr. Hudson of the Hudson Institute writes in his book “The Adult Years: Mastering the Art of Self-Renewal” that the secret to mastering the art of life (career) is “to look ahead and be visionary with the time in front of you as you pursue future paths and gain more experience at life. Measure your life deliberately and learn from it constantly.” This is good advice for our careers. We should put our energy into anticipating life rather than fixating or being limited by one’s past– the past is a launching pad, not a fence or prison. One’s future, and one’s career growth, begins with what is done today to make tomorrow happen. We should dream, be courageous with our lives, and evolve consciously through refining our potential.

It is helpful to think of  Dr. Frederic Hudson’s model as a cycle of growth that has a beginning, a time for growth, a time to plateau, decline and then start again. That is the natural flow of life as governed by earth’s movement around the sun. Nothing grows forever, everything must die for the healthy organism to be born again. This is the basic model of nature as contained in the four seasons. It is useful to see our lives and careers as part of this great cycle and thus appreciate our career development as a process of four stages of change.

Most people dread the plateau stage as they feel this is the point where one’s value at work declines, but actually, this is a misperception. In my experience the plateau stage is the most exciting of the four phases. This is the time when personal renewal is planned and committed to. It happens between the ages of 45 to 55 where people reflect and ask “why”. We ask … “do I really want to continue on the trajectory I have been traveling or is it time to press the pause button and begin to appreciate the past and think creatively about the future by considering what is happening now”. The present is where the answers are and with reflection and assistance from an experienced career counselor, one can use the present experience as fertile ground from which to birth the next stage of growth.

The plateau mark is a time of change. It can feel risky because we become unmoored from our anchors and allowed to drift away from the known territory that has given us a sense of identity for decades. Who am I if I am not my job title? But as one moves into new waters of experience and understanding it is exactly at these points of transition that the seeds are sown for the next move. This is when fear is augmented by excitement and this transforms into motivation which moves us to action. Birth, growth, leveling off, decline, and career rebirth and growth again. This is why the plateau is the most important stage. It is the prerequisite to real and lasting change and an essential piece to the puzzle of one’s life requiring the most self-awareness and introspection into the meaning of what you want to bring to life. There are five decades of career cycles each starting with birth, to growth, to plateau, to decline, to rebirth and start again.

Career Stages

In the fast-changing digital economy, to succeed you need skills to:

  • Design the chapters of your life with work that hold meaning at each stage
  • Embrace necessary career transitions, see plateaus as times of intense learning,
  • Entrepreneur and manage each change and transition of your life, creativity is king!
  • Make self-renewal not progress the central feature of your lifestyle and workstyle,
  • Keep future-oriented drawing upon your emergent vision and energy. Refresh and relaunch.

When you face job loss because of a company restructuring, or through, reflection you see that your career goals have shifted and that your job may no longer offer you the best path forward, then take a moment and envision a new future. It could be time to re-design the next chapter of your career and embrace the necessary transition points by making the important decisions about what you want to do next and how you want to do it. Entrepreneur your way forward with the renewed abilities that come naturally and easily to you. Make this a daily priority so you can refresh and relaunch your life through your actions and through your work, and in the process reclaim what you were born to do.

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